He was absolutely correct, and more than a little ironic.
As Del Norte County Supervisor Roger Gitlin was warming up the audience at a Tea Party Patriots meeting to talk about the idea of joining the movement to break away from California and form the new state of Jefferson, he offered up a little geography lesson.
San Francisco, he said, “defines itself as Northern California. San Francisco is not Northern California. San Francisco is central California … we are from Northern California.”
That, he said to applause, is the terminology we should use “from this point on.”
Sign me up. I’ve been changing Associated Press references from “Northern California” to “central California” for years. The news organization even refers to some places slightly south of the Bay Area as “Northern California.”
It’s all part of a mind-set shared by pretty much the entire planet. California consists of two spheres of influence: Los Angeles and San Francisco. Never mind that half the state, geographically, is north of the Bay Area.
Frankly, it’s a viewpoint that marginalizes the true Northern California. Most folks venturing up from the Bay Area are probably headed for the vineyards of Napa and Sonoma. If they’re ambitious, they might trek to Mendocino’s Lost Coast. The truly adventurous may even make it all the way to Humboldt. That’s the absolute edge of the abyss, right?
Did I say “marginalize”? It’s more like we Del Norters don’t exist. And that’s grating, even if it’s more a loss for the rest of the state than for us. After all, assuming we can make it financially in the middle of nowhere, we get the benefits of living in relative solitude amid some of the world’s best beaches, rivers and forests.
Most central Californians simply don’t know what they’re missing.
As for irony, it doesn’t get much better than a group of people celebrating the fact that they are the genuine Northern Californians even as they convene an effort to extract themselves from the Golden State. If the state of Jefferson were actually created, the Bay Area really would have a claim to the label “Northern California.”
A possible motto for the movement: “We are the real Northern Californians, until we’re not.”
The irony doesn’t end there. This is a county heavily dependent on the state it’s in for paychecks (more than 1,500 good ones emanate from Pelican Bay alone) and public assistance. But right now the majority of voting-age Del Norters would likely support the effort to trade in their California residency for one in the new state of Jefferson.
Maybe they’re just tired of being ignored.
Raising the minimum wage
Since the signs just to the north still say “Welcome to California” for now, we’ll take that pay raise courtesy of state lawmakers, thank you.
The votes are in from trip
Asked which was closer to their view, 295 respondents (67.5 percent) chose “I support the change to help the economic conditions of low-income workers,” while 142 (32.5 percent) chose “I oppose the change because it will increase costs for employers.”
For you central Californians scratching your heads, that’s vintage Del Norte. We care about the downtrodden and have no problem reaching out for support from the government we don’t like.